Deputy chief constable Sam de Reya
Although Dorset saw a rise in crime last year, particularly in rape and sexual offences, the county remains as the sixth safest area in the country.
The Office for National Statistics has released data which shows that overall crime rose by 5.5 per cent in Dorset during the 12 months to 30 September 2022 compared to the national average of 12.6 per cent.
A rise in crime was expected due to these figures being compared to the same time period in 2020 and 2021 when crime fell as a direct result of the national and regional Covid-19 lockdowns.
During this latest period, business and community burglary figures fell by 12.7 per cent in Dorset, a marked contrast to a national rise of over 17 per cent. Stalking and harassment fell by 0.5 per cent, compared to a national rise of 4.5 per cent, and in Dorset reports of robbery remained static, while there was a national rise of 15.2 per cent.
Dorset, as is mirrored in other parts of the country, has seen an increase in reported rape and sexual offences. This can in part be attributed to a boost in confidence of victims choosing to report matters to us and we continue to make violence against women and girls, and sexual violence a priority across the force.
Deputy chief constable Sam de Reya said: “We continue to strive to be the safest county in the country and remain driven to relentlessly pursue those criminals who cause the most harm to our communities, keeping people safe and putting victims first.
“We are absolutely committed to supporting victims of sexual offences and rape and bringing their offenders to justice. These crimes are abhorrent, and we take reports of rape offences extremely seriously and will do all we can to ensure offences are thoroughly investigated and offenders are brought to justice. We want victims to know that you will be listened to and supported. We are continuing to work with colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the services offered to those who report rape and other serious sexual offences.
“There has continued to be a significant decrease in community and business burglary. This improvement is as a direct result of the work our officers and staff have carried out with local and business communities to prevent offences from occurring in the first place.”
Police and crime commissioner, David Sidwick, said: “These statistics cover a period in time which takes into account the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic had on policing in Dorset. The statistics show a subsequent increase in crime levels that are due to a ‘Covid-distorted’ base line of crime in 2020/21 compared to 2021/22.
“Of course, there is still work to do in certain areas of policing, especially when it comes to sexual offences and rape, and I will ensure that the new chief constable is well aware of my determination to focus and improve on this particular area of policing. I am pleased to see though, that statistics in relation to stalking and harassment in the county are starting to decrease and that Dorset is bucking the national trend when it comes to robbery, violent crime and business and commercial burglary.”
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